To someone who isn’t a techie, building a website can seem like a very intimidating feat requiring the likes of a coding genius.
Web development has come a long way and with the use of online tools and software’s that are available today, even your grandmother can get a basic website up and running in no time.
But just because you can drive a car doesn’t mean you’d do well in the Indy 500.
Despite what some might have you believe, the level of quality and success achieved from do-it-yourself website builder is a far drop from that of a professional web design company.
The same stigma is tied to WordPress websites. With the use of new frameworks, page builders, plugins and themes, some might think web development has become easy.
Fact is, not understanding factors such as best practices, user experience, SEO, web analytics, internet marketing, branding and of course some coding; a website is likely to fail.
Content Management Systems vs. Web Site Builders
There are several website builders and content management systems available to choose from which allow almost anyone to develop websites. Choosing which to use can certainly be daunting, but it’s a choice that can determine a websites success.
Online website builders such as Wix and Squarespace are just two examples of popular website builders which allow anyone to build websites without requiring the purchase of web hosting. Web templates can be selected with the click of a button and websites can be formatted using a drag-and-drop interface. Although this sounds like the ideal choice, customization and functionality can be extremely limited depending on your project needs.
Content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, is website software that requires installation on a web hosting platform. Once installed, the appearance, content and functionality can all be managed through an easy to use dashboard.
As of right now you’re probably thinking website builders may sound like the better choice. But keep in mind there are reasons why WordPress has become the most widely used website software.As of 2019, 34% of websites on the internet are powered by WordPress, an increase of 4% from the previous year.Click To Tweet20% of all ecommerce websites are built in WooCommerceClick To TweetWordPress is the most widely used content management system with a 60% market share.Click To Tweet
Why choose WordPress?
In early 2000 WordPress was used primarily for blogs, however with a growing community of dedicated developers and countless versions later, WordPress has evolved into a content management system that can be used for launching websites such as corporate sites, online shops and blogs.
WordPress is open source which means that its code is public and can be downloaded free at WordPress.org. If you’ve purchased hosting already then you don’t need to download it as it can be installed with a couple clicks through your web host.
It can be extremely tempting to develop your website using a site builder but there are several reasons to choose building your website using a content management system such as WordPress.
- SEO Friendly – Loves. WordPress. Site builders do not hold a candle to WordPress when it comes to search engine optimization. WordPress plugins such as YOAST can help manage on-page SEO, XML sitemaps, rich snippets and more. Need more convincing? Just listen to Matt Cutts, who was part of Google’s search quality team on SEO issues.
- Social Engagement – WordPress gives you plenty of control over how your website is shared across popular social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Thousands of plugins are available from social sharing buttons to being able to syndicate your content across all social media platforms.
- Extremely customizable – Site builders typically have a limited number of rich themes available in contrast with WordPress which has thousands of themes that come fully loaded with additional functionality, page builders and features that allow you to customize your website the way you want so it doesn’t have to look exactly like someone else’s.
- Own your website code – If you have your website developed using a site builder such as Wix or Squarespace, you can’t move it or download it. The code is locked within the confines of a platform. With WordPress, you have full access to your code and database.
- Scalable – Unlike website builders, the possibilities are endless when it comes to WordPress. With over 48,500 free plugins available to extend functionality on a website. If you need custom functionality not to worry, just hire a professional WordPress developer.
Choosing a Web Hosting Company
Unlike website builders, WordPress requires web hosting which provides the technology to make a website live on the internet. There are countless hosting companies to choose from however this step is extremely important as it can impact your site performance, search rankings to sanity. The following 4 factors should be considered when purchasing which company to host next your website.
- Support – If you manage a WordPress website it is possible you may come across hosting or configuration issues. This is why choosing a hosting company which provides 24/7 phone, email and live chat support is extremely important.
- Affordable Pricing – While choosing a cheap hosting company is tempting, it’s important to select a web hosting package that suits your project needs.
- Security & Backups – Having your website compromised due to configuration issues or hackers is not a pleasant experience. This is why it’s important that your web hosting is secure and provide a full restore when needed.
- Technology – Site performance can be attributed to the type of hosting package or the type of server your website resides. Having a slow loading website can affect both user experience and search ranking.
Once you’ve purchased a hosting account, there are two methods of installing WordPress.
1) Manual install – By uploading the files and database to the server. This requires a basic understanding of file transfer software such as FileZilla and managing your database through PHPmyadmin.
2) On-Click-Install Tool – This is available through your hosting control panel. Several hosting companies such as SiteGround provide this feature which allows WordPress files and database to be installed within seconds without any configuration required. Once the installation is complete you will be provided with a login and password to access your administrative dashboard.
Customizing your WordPress Website with Themes & Plugins
The two main aspects which control the appearance and functionality of a WordPress website includes: themes and plugins.
Themes control the appearance and layout of your website and can be installed through the dashboard by navigating to Appearance->Themes->Add New or by uploading the theme files to the /wp-content/themes folder using an FTP software.
Premium themes can be purchased from sites such as themeforest.com for $60 which are usually bundled with quality plugins, page builders and its own unique interface to manage elements and settings.
Most Premium themes include page builders which allow an end user to add and manage elements on a web page with an easy to use drag-and-drop interface.
Plugins on the other hand, can add additional functionality with only a few clicks through the plugin library which located on the side menu (Plugins->Library->Add New).
Thousands of free and paid plugins can provide additional features such as contact forms, ecommerce, newsletter integrations, SEO and just about anything else you can think of.
Whether you’re just getting started with WordPress or a seasoned developer, you’re likely to come across challenges at some point. The following resources provide a wealth of information such as guides and access to helpful online community.
wordpress.org – This is the official WordPress website and where you can download a copy of WordPress and find useful information on WordPress. If you have any questions you can always post a question on the community forum where you’ll get moderators and experts providing useful information.
www.wpbeginner.com – This website is ideal for both newbies to advanced WP users. It provides a wealth of information including tips, tricks, hacks and more to improve your website.
www.managewp.org – If you’re looking for tutorials, articles and a community to join, ManageWP is extremely helpful and free to join.
With the use of website builders and content management systems such as WordPress you can build professional looking websites easily without a technical background.
While site builders can seem be tempting due to their ease of use however content management systems such as WordPress are more likely to provide your website with more control and features that are likely to deliver a strong online presence.
Web hosting is necessary to launch a WordPress website. Choosing the right company is important for your online success as it can impact the performance, user experience and search ranking.
For those looking to launch their next website, NexToronto can help you build a strong online presence that includes SEO to help you get ranked in Google.